SUU gymnastics to head up I-15 to compete in Rio Tinto Best of Utah

The Southern Utah University Flippin’ Birds started the new season — and the new year — off with a win against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, whom they outperformed 196.100-192.875.

SUU finished No. 18 in the nation and No. 3 in the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference tournament.  

Up next, the Flippin’ Birds will be traveling north to compete against Brigham Young University, the University of Utah and Utah State University in the Rio Tinto Best of Utah meet.

Flippin’ Birds versus Wildcats

Graduate student Karley McClain scored 39.475 at the all-around position for SUU. Throughout her floor, vault, bars and beam scores, McClain averaged 9.867 out of a perfect 10. 

SUU’s overall vault score was 49.025. McClain and senior Rachel Smith scored 9.85 on their first attempts and 9.80 on their second attempts, leading the Flippin’ Birds to a 49.025-48.675 win in the vaulting category.

On the bars, SUU scored a combined 49.025, led by McClain’s amazing 9.900 performance. Sophomore Isabella Neff went for 9.850, and freshman Trista Goodman followed with 9.825. 

The Flippin’ Birds dominated the beam. McClain put on a show for each event, posting another high 9.850 out of 10. Senior Kaylee Kho, Smith and Cacciola had 9.825 points apiece.

McClain added yet another amazing score — and her high for the night — of 9.900 on the floor. Junior Hailey Vultaggio was right behind McClain, scoring 9.825 to cap off the night for the Flippin’ Birds. 

Meeting the opponents

The University of Utah Red Rocks finished last season No. 4 in the national rankings. Utah averaged 197.100 points per meet during that run.

Utah State followed, ranking in at No. 11 on the national stage. The Aggies put up 195.875 points per meet and finished first in the MRGC. 

BYU lost in the MRGC tournament to the Flippin’ Birds but finished No. 16 in the nation. The Cougars averaged 195.225 points per meet last season and look to continue that in the Rio Tinto Best of Utah meet. 

When and where

The meet will be held in the Maverik Center Friday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. in West Valley City. Tickets for the event can be purchased here


Article by: Chevy Blackburn

Photo courtesy of